Dragon Ball fans just love to hate Yamcha, but they will never let the Z-Fighter fade into obscurity. Introduced in Akira Toriyama’s iconic franchise, the character made his debut in the original Dragon Ball anime as a puffed-up baddie. However, the skilled martial artist was left in the dust once Goku embraced in Saiyan blood, and fans have since turned Yamcha into a deeply beloved meme. Now, Shueisha is giving Yamcha a moment to shine in a brand-new manga spin-off, and one of the project’s editors is dishing secrets about the story.
Recently, Buzzfeed Japan sat down for an interview with an unnamed editor from Shueisha about the spin-off, “Dragon Ball Side-Story: The Case of Being Reincarnated as Yamcha.” It was there that the editor talked about the manga’s unexpected viral fame and how much Toriyama had to do with the story.
Thanks to a translation by Kanzenshuu, fans can read up on the entire intriguing interview if they have time. When asked how the Yamcha-centered story came to be, the editor didn’t hold back and revealed the story was born after one too many drinks.
“It started with some stupid talk while we were out drinking,” he said. “All of us at the editorial department were out drinking, and we started talking about what it would be like if Jump did a “reincarnated in another world” story ala a [Shōsetsuka ni] Narō novel. At that point we got excited over the idea of doing something like that with the Dragon Ball world.”
However, the editor said the folks at Shueisha had sound reasoning for making Yamcha a protagonist. He explained, “We figured it would be good to take the weakest character and turn the tables. He’s not a Saiyan, doesn’t have a spouse or lover, fades out quicker than the other Earthlings, dies pathetically… etc. So the frisson created by making him the protagonist seemed interesting.”
So far, reaction to the story has been intense and thankfully positive. Fans from all over the world have scoured the Internet looking for fan-translated versions of the Yamcha spin-off, and the anonymous editor said he still feels taken back by the response.
“Frankly, I was surprised that there was so much of a response… It was funny, because on Twitter and places like that, some people couldn’t believe it was official,” the editor confessed.
“Also, I guess you could say that on the net there’s a subculture around having fun with Yamcha… I think Yamcha is well-loved.”